Class D for Sound Lab Speakers?

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  • This topic has 45 replies, 15 voices, and was last updated 6 months ago by ST.
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    • #1700
      ST
      Participant

        I was in the same dilemma before as the 250watter Classe Audio seemed bit underpowered. I then use Class D amp and been using it since then.

        See if you can tell the difference.

        note:- I have shared this video about 7 years ago in this forum.

      • #1699
        Massimo Stefanizzi
        Participant

          same experience and disbelief I can report here in Vienna (SL A1s) with Mola Mola Kaluga. These Class D amplifiers are truly outstanding.

        • #1694
          BounceHit
          Participant

            @MikeB

            Your experience with various Sound Lab’s and amplifiers and amplifier types is extensive. It’s great that you’ve found a Class D amp that marries favorably with your U1/PX’s, when compared with your previous experiences.

            From those amps you listed and then arriving at the VTV’s and never hearing the “ESL’s…sound like this” is quite a testament.

            The VTV’s pros seem to be “grip” and “dynamics”. How are other factors like soundstage, imaging, harmonics etc?

            >>>>>>>>>>>They “lead” with dynamics and grip but are no slouches in other areas. The soundstage is enormous. The images are very good, with distinct outlines/edges/boundaries, but are bested in “density” by amps such as the VTL and Fouriers. Harmonics are excellent for a SS state amp, but the tube amps still have a VERY slight edge.

            Are there any areas that the VTV’s don’t do as well as you would like – i.e., are there any sonic areas that could be a bit better, when compared to your previous amp trials and experiences?

            >>>>>>>>>>>>See above. The biggest shortcoming is in transparency. BUT on the whole they are a fantastic compromise/balance of virtues in my large (24.5 x 22.5 x 9′ room).

            Thanks for citing the specific amps you settled upon, the: “VTV’s are the N2K monoblocks with VTV custom input buffer and Weiss op-amps”. And by all means, if you have additional noteworthy experiences (pro & con) with the VTV’s or other amps, letting the gang here know of them, would be appreciated.

            >>>>>>>>>>>>You see my enthusiasm is real! 🙂

            BTW, do your U1/PX’s have the latest Consummate transformers/backplates, or the previous ones?

            >>>>>>>>>>>>>My backplates are the “older” version with T1 but no “Hot Rod” upgrade.

          • #1693
            MikeB
            Participant

              @bouncehit,
              Your experience with various Sound Lab’s and amplifiers and amplifier types is extensive. It’s great that you’ve found a Class D amp that marries favorably with your U1/PX’s, when compared with your previous experiences.

              From those amps you listed and then arriving at the VTV’s and never hearing the “ESL’s…sound like this” is quite a testament.

              The VTV’s pros seem to be “grip” and “dynamics”. How are other factors like soundstage, imaging, harmonics etc? Are there any areas that the VTV’s don’t do as well as you would like – i.e., are there any sonic areas that could be a bit better, when compared to your previous amp trials and experiences?

              Thanks for citing the specific amps you settled upon, the: “VTV’s are the N2K monoblocks with VTV custom input buffer and Weiss op-amps”. And by all means, if you have additional noteworthy experiences (pro & con) with the VTV’s or other amps, letting the gang here know of them, would be appreciated.

              BTW, do your U1/PX’s have the latest Consummate transformers/backplates, or the previous ones?

            • #1692
              sraot
              Participant

                @BounceHit Congrats on a great, extended customer service find. This can surely go a long way in personal listening satisfaction, in and of itself surmounting technological “brute force” — which might or might not always work as i’ve unfortunately encountered in the form of blown op-amps under ribbon loads nevermind esl loads — and peace with one’s system. Happy listening to you and great to have such supportive customer service.

              • #1691
                BounceHit
                Participant

                  My VTV’s are the N2K monoblocks with VTV custom input buffer and Weiss op-amps. BH

                • #1690
                  BounceHit
                  Participant

                    @MikeB

                    Yes, over the years I’ve owned multiple Sound Lab products (A1, Auras, A3, and most recently U1/PX) and driven them with everything from Fourier Sans Pareil OTL’s to VTL MB 750’s to Levinson 23’s and Krell MDA 500’s, just to name a few. More recently my forays into Class D have included ROUGE Audio with the ICE AS1 chip, Class D Audio (GaN FETS’s), and now the VTV.

                    There is a “certainty” the grip imposed on the speaker by the VTV N2K that causes one’s shoulders to relax. Clipping seems unimaginable. Dynamics are startling. I truly didn’t know ESL’s could sound like this!

                    https://vtvamplifier.com/product/vtv-amplifier-monoblock-hypex-nc2000-ncore-amplifier-2000w-with-vtv-buffer-input/

                  • #1688
                    MikeB
                    Participant

                      @bouncehit: Congrats on your new amplifier find.

                      There are lots of VTV Hypex versions on VTV’s website. Which one (if stereo), or ones (if mono) are you using? Did you stick with what you originally received, or after the “dialing-in”, did you stick with that configuration — i.e., exactly what amplifier, and op amp configuration is working for you?

                      Have you compared your SoundLab Ultimate PX’s and the VTV’s with other solid state push-pull, or Class A amps, or Tube amps? If so, it would be beneficial if you were to cite and discuss your comparative experiences. Thanks, -Mike

                    • #1686
                      BounceHit
                      Participant

                        Hello All,

                        I posted this message on Audiogon this morning thanking Warren at VTVamplifier.com for his help in tuning my VTV HYPEX based N2K monos (with Weiss op-amps).

                        The HYPEX N2K exerts AMAZING control over my Ultimate 1’s with upgraded PX panels and is still VERY musical and engaging. The bass is STUNNING. 🙂

                        BH

                        Good Morning Fellow Audiophiles!

                        In the season of Thanksgiving, I wanted to stop and share my incredibly positive experience with VTV Amplifiers (vtvamplifier.com) and Warren Coleman in particular.

                        While I absolutely love my Sound Lab Ultimate 1 PX’s, they are, in many ways, “a speaker in search of an amplifier”!!! 😉

                        After doing a great deal of research, I elected to contact Warren at VTV in order to explore the HYPEX N2K amps, hoping to find something that could offer both musicality AND the brute force necessary to command control over the startling low-frequency reproduction of which these amazing electrostatic loudspeaker’s are capable (if one can overcome their >30 ohm impedance in sub-bass region)!!

                        Warren was very generous in speaking with me over the phone in advance of the purchase. He walked me through the potential pros and cons of the various amplifiers he offers and counseled me concerning op-amp selection to optimize the performance of his amps in my particular system (and to my particular tastes!)

                        Purchase was seamless through their website and communication excellent. The amplifiers arrived SOONER than promised. They were carefully packaged to insure a “safe ride” (despite UPS 😂).

                        The build quality of the amplifiers was excellent. There were no cosmetic issues either.

                        In my experience, all class D amplifiers take time to run in, and these were no exception. However as the units “matured” I was rewarded with lovely, musical sound and a degree of command over the notoriously difficult to drive Sound Lab Ultimate 1 I have never before experienced.

                        But, I am an audiophile. 😁 So, I had “nits” to pick with the transparency of the sound. Once again, Warren corresponded with me (virtually in real time, and always promptly) to address these concerns, even sending alternative op amps for me to install and try to “dial in the sound”.

                        In short, I could absolutely not be any happier with my experience as a customer of VTV Amplifiers. It turns out Warren has a Nashville connection, and I am hopeful he and I will meet in person when he next travels this direction.

                        HIGHEST, unqualified recommendation, period. But Sound Lab Owners should pay especially close attention!

                        BH

                        P.S. AND NO, I HAVE NO PERSONAL or BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP with Warren or VTV. I’m simply old school and appreciate people who are passionate and care about their customers!

                      • #1676
                        MikeB
                        Participant

                          @stakkallapelli: Thanks for your Class “D” amp experience. Although you didn’t mention the amp’s manufacturer, it would be quite advantageous if you were to do so.

                          Class “D” for its pluses (low: weight, heat, cost, power usage etc.) is intriguing. It would be an important find, if a Class “D” amp could be found that could complete with other highly revered amp types being used with SoundLabs, especially if the cost were considerably less. As such, additional pro/con experiences with various Class “D” amps & SoundLabs is greatly appreciated.

                          In the interim however (especially at their price), it seems that a pair of Benchmark ABH-2’s — that “combine class-AB, and class-H topologies” — is a very good SoundLab choice. This is based on what other’s have said of their experiences and about Dr. West’s apparent Benchmark amp comments. Additionaly, @achipo’s very positive experiences with his Benchmark, vs Atma-sphere amp combo, adds another tick in the Benchmark column, if one prefers solid state rather than tubes.

                        • #1675
                          sraot
                          Participant

                            I had a bit of experience using a highly reputable and well respected class d monoblocks spec’d as follows:

                            338 Watt @ 8 Ohm, 676 W @ 4 ohm, 1352 W @ 2 Ohm; Gain: +26 dB; Input impedance: 47 kOhm.

                            I demoed them with a pair of Innersound esl’s and they sounded good but as i recall they had a sound that exhibited some digital artifacts, namely an etched outline to the upper frequencies and low frequency reproduction that did not optimize on the Innersounds’ transmission line woofers.

                            What made me want to demo the amps was their cool operating temperature, apparent low impedance power handling, their compactness, the reputation of their engineering staff, and the many positive reviews. The Innersounds however represent a difficult load at the esl panels and one of the monoblocka shut down at less than about 85-88db sound levels. The unit never turned back on. Sent the units back and got another pair, and the same thing happened but don’t recall if one or both units gave in.

                            Went back to a pair of Wolcott monoblocks (16 6CA7 tubes in total, 8 per side) and they managed quite well.

                            Now using a pair Sound Labs with Thresholds and they’ve been a great match with consistent results in performance from classical, to jazz, blues, vocals, movie soundtracks, etc.

                            Hope this helps.

                          • #1440
                            zgas-music
                            Participant

                              Have been trying different amplifiers to drive my M1s – a couple of McIntosh solid states and I ordered in a D-Sonic Class D

                              Short story on the D-Sonic is that if I’d not heard the Macs first, I probably would have kept it. Lots of power for the price (800 watts 8 ohms $2000; 1500 watts for <$2500). My short take is it’s sort of “in your face.” I think we need to keep an eye on Class D amps, tho.

                              Had some email traffic with Roger West asking about Class D and SLs. He doesn’t like them in general; thinks they aren’t engaging. Told me he thinks they will continue to improve, tho. Roger listens to two ABH2s. He used them as monoblocks. Spoke very highly of them. Says their frequency response is flat even at full power.

                              Started looking on Hifishark for used ABH2s and, like Sound Lab speakers, they don’t show up very often; which I think says something about them.

                            • #1439
                              MikeB
                              Participant

                                I’ve owned 3-SoundLab pairs, obviously at different times.

                                Frist, I had Millennium-1’s and then M1-PX’s with the consummate backplates and currently, Majestic 845’s.

                                I drove my original Millennium-1’s with a Mark Levinson 336 stereo amplifier. At that time and on the old SLOG forum, many were using tube amps, especially Wolcott’s and Atma-sphere’s. Thus, I wanted to try a tube amp and see what all the fuss was about.

                                A local dealer had a used pair of CAT (Convergent Audio Technology) JL1 monoblocks – 100W/Ch. Those weighed in at just under 400lbs. Along with the CAT’s, the dealer had an audition pair of Parasound Halo JC1 monoblocks. I took both the CAT’s and Parasound’s home. I first inserted the Parasound’s. At less cost than my Levinson, the JC1’s were very similar to the Levinson 336. When I inserted the CAT’s, I was immediately bowled over. The CAT’s controlled the SoundLabs unlike the two solid state amps. Bass was better, SoundLab’s superb midrange was even better and the treble was great. I then thought what am I missing? The answer was nothing was missing! Everything I value was better, soundstage, harmonics, imaging, drive and control etc.

                                A few years later, I had the opportunity to obtain CAT JL3’s with double the output tubes and 50 more watts/channel than my original JL1 CAT’s. They were better with my then Millennium SoundLabs in terms of a marginal higher output. But the overall sound was very similar between the 2-amps. With PX panels and the newest backplate’s, I’m sure JL1’s would now be sufficient.

                                However, after developing significant spine and hip issues, the CAT’s became problematic. Because CAT’s owner Ken Stevens strives for utmost excellence, he chose to forego using actual fuses. Instead, he installed sacrificial resistors at each tube socket – 16 for the JL1’s and 32 for the JL3’s. I had several resistors blow while I owned the CAT’s. Each time, the 190lb. amps had to be flipped over on their tops and their bottom plate’s many screws removed. The blown resistor then needed to be de-soldered and a new one re-soldered. Not a terrible process for someone with a soldering iron and the physical capabilities to perform the function. But the process became one I could no longer perform.

                                At 37lbs. each, robust and fused, I thought that the Atma-sphere MA1’s may be a good alternative to the CAT’s. My local dealer brought the MA1’s out for an in-home audition, along with Levinson and Pass Labs amps. The Pass was an A/B amp, at I believe 250-watts. Sonically, it wasn’t at all what I was used to. The Levinson was also around 250-watts and its protection circuits kicked-in. So, I didn’t get to hear much of it. But when the Atma-sphere’s were inserted, I had reproduction similar to my CAT’s. They may have a bit less bass wise, but they had a bit more detail (which was good) than the CAT’s. But the harmonics, imagining, soundstage and control were similar to the CAT’s. Hence, I chose to buy a new pair of MA1’s. I had no more sacrificial resistor concerns and no worries about repairing, lifting and moving 190lb. amplifiers. To the CAT’s credit however, much of the 190lbs. is due to CAT’s 55lb. proprietary transformers. My belief is that CAT push/pull amps (with a midrange SET purity) owe much of their superb capabilities to their proprietary transformers. As such, CAT’s are a supreme match for SoundLabs. And as you can tell, I hated to part with them. They’re that good with SoundLabs and I understand with many other speakers. In fact, I would imagine that CAT’s newer JL5 stereo amps would be a great match with S/L’s.

                                With that said, many solid-state amplifiers of sufficient power will drive the SoundLabs well. I thought my Levinson and then the Parasound Halo’s did well, until I heard the CAT’s and tubes. At that point, everything was better. Bass was better and harmonics were better and as such, symphonic instruments sounded more like the real thing. Thus, with the CAT’s and Atma-sphere’s, I prefer tubes. If I never heard the difference, I would have been quite satisfied with the solid-state amplifiers I owned and tried. However, if you have a chance to audition CAT’s or Atma-sphere’s, you may well hear the plusses that prompted me to stick with these tube amplifiers.

                                As a matter of fact, because of my physical limitations which even impact tube changing and rolling, I would like to find solid state amps that would equal the Atma-sphere’s. Forum member “ACHiPo” does own Atma-sphere’s and Benchmarks. He has made a comparison between the two.

                                However, I would love to hear from other folks who have had the opportunity to compare Atma-sphere’s with for example: Pass A/B and Class A amps as well as other solid-state Class A/B, D & H amps.

                                Some who run their system many hours per day, may choose solid state because of tube replacement issues. And although heat is not a problem with my Midwest, basement audio room, I can understand why some may have chosen solid state. But of supreme importance to me is not heat or tube maintenance, but the end result – i.e., from a purely sonic perspective, what solid-state amp will equal CAT or Atma-sphere tubes? If I move to solid state amps, I would like to do so laterally sound wise and not regret the move.

                              • #1410
                                BelleMusique
                                Participant

                                  I have tested Atma Sphere Class D on my Audiophile 645 (PX, Bassfocus).

                                  This combo works realy fine ! You can find a video on youtube where 645 are driven by Class D in a direct link with Ear Yoshino DAC4 (no preamp).

                                • #1365
                                  Dizzie
                                  Participant

                                    Another vote for Benchmark. I like Benchmark AHB2 monoblocks on my Majestic 545PX speakers. I prefer them over amps costing a lot more.

                                  • #1362
                                    Anonymous

                                      Late to the party but I can tell you that an Ncore amp is not a good match for my U-1s. It is a 300 watt/channel NC502mp purchased for the garage system driving New Advents, but I decided to try it out with the stats.

                                      It was not happy. Grainy top end and a weird lack of center fill. I’m thinking it does not do well with reactive loads.

                                    • #1300
                                      jw
                                      Participant

                                        I am a long-time Sound Lab speaker owner and haven’t checked for this site for a while.

                                        Personally, I don’t like Class D amps. Its sound is dry and lacks liquidity. I understand today’s Class D amp may not be the same as it was. A while ago, tried a Spectron Musician III to drive my Majestic 945 alone and disliked the sound. Finally, I biamped the Majestic 945. The Spectron Musician drives the bass and a pair of Wolcott P400 for the high/mid. It is the right mixture for me.

                                      • #1252
                                        ACHiPo
                                        Participant

                                          @mossimo
                                          The Benchmark AHB2 amps are very good, especially for the money and in hot weather! I still preferred the MA1s by a small margin with my old front end and expect the difference to be even bigger with the new Taiko Extreme server and Technics SP10R and Kuzma tonearm.

                                          The Benchmark dynamics are superior to the AtmaSphere, but the midrange liquidity, air, and 3 dimensionality of the AtmaSpheres are slightly superior to the Benchmarks.
                                          Evan

                                        • #1251
                                          Massimo Stefanizzi
                                          Participant

                                            Hi Evan!

                                            I see on your floor now (pic on the other topic) two Benchmark AHB2 driving your Majestic745
                                            Any impressions?
                                            Would you recommend it?

                                            Regards Massimo 🤗🎶

                                          • #1220
                                            MikeB
                                            Participant

                                              Regarding my last post, I erroneously inferred and believed that the Benchmark AHB-2 was a Class D amp, when it isn’t. In fact, Benchmark’s specs state it: “combines class-AB, and class-H topologies, using a feed-forward error correction system” (https://benchmarkmedia.com/products/benchmark-ahb2-power-amplifier). And ACHiPo (Evan), is using two AHB-2’s that are in bridged mode to output enough power for his SoundLabs. -Mike

                                            • #1219
                                              MikeB
                                              Participant

                                                Although I have had personal communications with ACHiPo about Class D amps and his experience with the Benchmark AHB-2’s, I wanted to thank him here, for bringing Class D amps to the SLOG gang’s attention.

                                                SoundLab’s and Class D amplifiers used together, hadn’t entered my mind until this thread. Although they have been around for years, for the cost, power consumption and weight, Class D amplifiers seem to now have entered into the high-end world with a fairly recent and big splash.

                                                If anyone has any experiences using Class D amps with SoundLab’s, please let the group know.

                                                Because of an electrostatic speaker’s amplification needs vs cones and domes, amplifiers have always been a hot discussion topic amongst us SoundLab owners. As such, I always appreciate amplifier discussions. This is especially true regarding everyone’s personal experiences with different amplifier brands, types, power-output etc. So, by all means give us all a shout-out regarding your amp experiences and comparisons, good bad, or otherwise…

                                              • #1121
                                                Massimo Stefanizzi
                                                Participant

                                                  Thanks Evan,

                                                  it does not matter, I live in Vienna (EU) the mains voltage here is 220v. and I doubt Bel Canto has even a voltage selector. I thought you had tried the Ref.600s but I misunderstood.
                                                  I can’t wait to read your comment to AHB2!🎶 🤗 🎶

                                                • #1120
                                                  ACHiPo
                                                  Participant

                                                    Massimo,
                                                    Sorry I can’t comment on the Bel Canto amps other than to say I was convinced based on reviews to give it a try if I thought it would be a good match with the Sound Labs (I did not have them in my system nor have I heard them in another system). Let me know if you’re interested and I will PM you a link with the ad. The seller is in Michigan (not sure where you’re located?)

                                                    Evan

                                                  • #1118
                                                    Massimo Stefanizzi
                                                    Participant

                                                      Hi Evan!

                                                      In the meantime could you please report your impressions on the BC Ref600?
                                                      I would be very grateful because they are also in my short list! 🙂

                                                      Have a nice Sunday!
                                                      Massimo

                                                    • #1117
                                                      ACHiPo
                                                      Participant

                                                        Well after toying with picking up a pair of used Bel Canto Ref600M class D amps, I decided to pull the trigger on a pair of Benchmark AHB2 amps. It’s not too clear what the topology is–Class H–but good words from Roger and myriad great reviews and a 30 day demo period got me over the hump.

                                                        I’ll post my impressions when I get them.

                                                      • #1103
                                                        ACHiPo
                                                        Participant

                                                          Yes I also sent a note to Ralph. It seems SL users will need to wait for a higher powered version.

                                                        • #1102
                                                          Massimo Stefanizzi
                                                          Participant

                                                            I had an email exchange with Ralph Karste yesterday, the new amp is not suitable to drive my A1s

                                                          • #1101
                                                            ACHiPo
                                                            Participant

                                                              Interesting development. I knew Ralph was working on a class D. Looks like it’s ready.
                                                              https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=180725.0;topicseen

                                                            • #1092
                                                              grg3939
                                                              Participant

                                                                I drove my U-3’s (updated toroids and PX panels) with Wolcott mono blocks for years. They worked very well. Plenty of punch, great highs, open mids, wide and deep soundstage. Last year I replaced them with the PS Audio M1200 Class D monoblocks. The M1200’s were better in every category. The timbral accuracy of all instruments, attack/sustain/decay ,micro dynamics, and ambience retrieval were immediately noticeable improvements right out of the box. After 200+ hours, they still were getting better. Darren Meyers knows what he’s doing to make those ICE modules sing.

                                                              • #1058
                                                                ACHiPo
                                                                Participant

                                                                  I definitely read that review, but forgot about the Merrill amp reference. Thanks. I reread it, and think that might have been what planted the seed in my head that Class D could be a good match with Sound Labs.

                                                                  I tried the W4S again after more break in and it still sounds good, just not as juicy and enveloping as the AtmaSpheres.

                                                                  I’m hearing good things about Benchmark with Sound Labs, so may give them a shot down the road just out of curiosity.

                                                                • #1057
                                                                  jlbj
                                                                  Participant

                                                                    Guy’s I am surprised you missed this review of the Majestic 845PX in the May of 2014 edition of Enjoy The Music. Jules Coleman wrote the review and gave a thorough, interesting and glowing account of the speakers attributes.

                                                                    But what was interesting is the amplifier that he settled on after trying a
                                                                    Pass Labs A-250 which could not adequately drive the speaker. He chose the
                                                                    Merrill Veritas Monoblocks which are Class D, produce 400 watts into 8 ohms
                                                                    and had no trouble driving the big panels. The Veritas have a pretty good reputation in the Audio community and right now they are selling at very
                                                                    reasonable prices used, they listed new at 12k.

                                                                    One thing of note, while writing the review and listening to music at the same time he did not want to turn his head and spoil the illusion that this was not live music but a reproduction as gloriously presented by the Sound Lab speaker. As owners we know what he was talking about.

                                                                    http://www.enjoythemusic.com/superioraudio/equipment/0514/sound_lab_majestic_845px_electrostatic_speaker.htm

                                                                  • #1054
                                                                    Massimo Stefanizzi
                                                                    Participant

                                                                      Thank you Evan!
                                                                      🤗

                                                                    • #1050
                                                                      ACHiPo
                                                                      Participant

                                                                        Ciao Massimo!
                                                                        The Wyred4Sound amp is amazing for the price—I paid about $800 used for it a few years ago. It is detailed and powerful. It has a little more glare than my MA1s, and much less emotional delivery, but I could definitely live with it for the Summer months. I’m sure there are better Class D amps now—the W4S uses a Beolab ICE module amp with a custom input and power supply. Given its performance, however, I don’t think I’ll be trying the Benchmark unless I find a great deal.

                                                                        Evan

                                                                      • #1049
                                                                        Massimo Stefanizzi
                                                                        Participant

                                                                          Hi ACHiPo,
                                                                          I am glad that your W4S ST500 can drive your new 645s!
                                                                          Just like you, I am also looking for a second ‘summer amplifier’.
                                                                          What do you think is a top tier Class D amp?
                                                                          I would like to read more of your listening impressions regarding MA1s vs. ST500.

                                                                          Best regards
                                                                          Massimo

                                                                          P.S.: I am considering this ‘top tier’ Wyred4Sound. Unfortunately no dealers in Vienna 🙁

                                                                          https://wyred4sound.com/products/power-amps/mono/sx-1000r

                                                                        • #1047
                                                                          ACHiPo
                                                                          Participant

                                                                            I received my Sound Lab speakers yesterday and got them set up today. I listened for several hours with AtmaSphere MA1s and things sounded quite good. I switched to my Wyred4Sound ST500 amp (250 wpc Class D), and things sound quite good–different, but good. The room is a LOT cooler. Will continue running the Class D whenever not critically listening to break in the speakers. Given the performance of this relatively modest Class D, I’m thinking a top tier Class D would sound pretty darned good on Sound Labs.

                                                                          • #961
                                                                            ACHiPo
                                                                            Participant

                                                                              Well, I have the Wyred4Sound Class D. I’ll likely use it to break in the Sound Labs. Will give it a listen, too, just to compare it to the MA-1s.

                                                                              Meanwhile I’ve got my eyes peeled for a Benchmark or 2. So far the only used ones I’m finding are very close to new in pricing.

                                                                              • This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by ACHiPo.
                                                                            • #957
                                                                              MikeB
                                                                              Participant

                                                                                ACHiPo said: “I also ordered the MA-1s.” “I’ll keep my eyes peeled for a used Benchmark or 2 as it might be nice to have a low-heat option to drive the SLs in the summer!”

                                                                                I wasn’t going to say so, but now that you have, MA-1’s do indeed add some much welcomed warmth during my midwest winters. Because you already own the M-60’s, you have a clue. However, I can’t imagine the space heater warmth that the MA-2’s must emanate (grin). Then there are the MA-3’s. When firing them up, it must be campfire story and marshmallow roasting time 🙂

                                                                              • #956
                                                                                MikeB
                                                                                Participant

                                                                                  Benchmark AHB2 Power Amplifier: interesting technology, great price! Thanks for heads-up and the link.

                                                                                  If someone tries one, especially ACHiPo in comparison to your Atma-sphere MA-1’s, please give us a shout out. The 100-watts would seem to be marginal and as such questionable. However, numbers can be misleading. Especially when comparing the more usual Class AB vs A circuits.

                                                                                  At any rate, hearing (particularly with SoundLabs) is believing! I rule nothing OUT, or for that matter IN based on specifications, technology, part types, topography, etc., without hearing. In our wacky hobby, I’ve been surprised both positively and negatively too many times to believe otherwise.

                                                                                • #954
                                                                                  drbond
                                                                                  Participant

                                                                                    I’ve got a 3 year old pair of Atma-Sphere MA1’s that I’m thinking about rotating out of, if anyone is interested. Just moving on to a different sound.

                                                                                  • #949
                                                                                    D10
                                                                                    Participant

                                                                                      From my experience – no class D amps are good for SL!
                                                                                      D

                                                                                    • #933
                                                                                      ACHiPo
                                                                                      Participant

                                                                                        Yes Tom’s city system. I was very impressed by the (big speaker-sized) diminutive 545s. They ran out of gas (bass flapping) but at SPLs much higher than I normally listen (or even comfortable). Tom’s room is quite a bit liver than mine, so I think the 645s will sound fantastic (at least I hope so!)

                                                                                        I also ordered the MA-1s. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for a used Benchmark or 2 as it might be nice to have a low-heat option to drive the SLs in the summer!

                                                                                        No new car for me for a few years!

                                                                                      • #932
                                                                                        kilkil
                                                                                        Participant

                                                                                          TWBs city system, i’m guessing?
                                                                                          I know lots of people like tube amps, and i would love to hear the highly acclaimed Atmaphere’s in my system. I haven’t really heard tubes that i preferred over SS, though i will admit to recently hearing Stax 009s through an LTA Z10e and it is the best i’ve heard an electrostatic headphone to date, this system also sounded excellent powering the original Abyss 1266, which is the first headphone that i heard that i thought sounded better than my Quad system at the time. I may even like the Z10e better than my diy Gilmore designed Dynahi.

                                                                                        • #930
                                                                                          ACHiPo
                                                                                          Participant

                                                                                            I’d like to hear them as well. Ultimately I decided to pull the trigger on AtmaSphere MA1s as I’ve grown accustomed to the AtmaSphere sound and from what I read they are an outstanding pairing with Sound Labs.

                                                                                            I heard 545s Sunday with Pass Labs 250.8s and they sounded very good. I’m hoping 645s driven by the MA1s will be at least as good in my room.

                                                                                            I have a spare 500WPC Wyred4Sound Class D stereo amp that I will use to break in the Sound Labs. I used it when I sent my M60s back to Ralph for refurb and it sounded really good on my Kefs. Not as good as the AtmaSpheres, but better than I expected from an $800 used amp.

                                                                                          • #929
                                                                                            kilkil
                                                                                            Participant

                                                                                              I would be interested in hearing them, particularly as a side by side with my Pass amps. I do have a bias to Class A, i’m interested in how close other topologies can get.

                                                                                            • #928
                                                                                              ACHiPo
                                                                                              Participant

                                                                                                Update: Roger suggested I check out the Benchmark AHB amps and they have glowing reviews. I’ve found some positive statements on driving Martin Logan speakers, but nothing on Sound Lab. Has anyone heard or had experience with these amps on Sound Labs?
                                                                                                Benchmark AHB2 Power Amplifier

                                                                                              • #907
                                                                                                ACHiPo
                                                                                                Participant

                                                                                                  There are some very good sounding Class D amps these days. I’m wondering how Class D amps would work with the electrostat load of the PX Sound Lab speakers?

                                                                                                  There are lists of good and not-so-good amps for Sound Labs, but I haven’t seen anything that says what it is about an amp that makes it a good match for Sound Lab speakers? AtmaSphere OTLs seem to handle the impedance curve well, as do Pass Labs (and I’ve heard Boulder and probably Dartzeel and Jeff Rowland Class A/B as well?) What is it about those amps (other than adequate power) that makes them a good match?

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